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62. NYC '19 64. Tournament Day

October 3rd, 2020

Blackout Ben

Blackout Ben was a nickname my alter-ego received after a couple of nights out in Dublin which resulted in complete memory loss thereafter. Before these events I had never truly believed the ‘I don’t remember anything story.’ Sure I’d had some hazy nights, and there were definite blurs from some big ones at Stevie’s, Pub Golf, or house parties at Lucy Hammer’s, but nothing that couldn’t be vaguely pieced together. On one fateful night, however, that changed for the worse when I decided to get absolutely rat-assed on a lovely warm day in the May of 2016. The week of the 16th in my Calendar App tells a story of the sort of drinking I was casually doing at the time, ie. every night something was up. From the Wednesday on I was in a semi-permanent state of slightly pissed, bouncing from ‘Colm’s’ (?) to the Harty Party on Thursday, an undescribed Lombard on Friday, the grand EqualiTEA on Saturday going through to some stunning ballet from Alonso King on the Sunday afternoon and an At Swim party (a more gentle affair if I remember rightly) rounding out the week. Monday in my calendar starts at 10:00 with ‘Bathroom Get-Go’, as in, the builders arriving to refit my bathroom which I had picked out and designed myself, very stylishly simply, in the weeks before. They were coming in for five days work, during which I had a few things planned and wouldn’t really be in their hair. The first of these ‘events’ was going round to E___’s and together making our way to The Gingerman to meet M____ W____, who had finished her last exam that morning, and we enjoyed a pint there in the early afternoon. Staying for a couple, we enjoyed the anticipation of the night ahead, the inaugural Summer Shuffle, run by M____ herself along with M____ A____, a new club night of sorts to take place at the Wiley Fox that evening. I had been roped in (very happily) to put together a cheap banner, which took the form of a large white sheet with the black shuffle logo stencilled on it, a few matching t-shirts were also made, though now most likely lost to the annals. Here’s a picture of me taken on the night in front of my glorious (read: rough around the edges) creation: Red jacket from NYC, YES EQUALITY T-shirt, probably some colourful shoes. Although, thinking about it, this might have been from the 2nd Shuffle… hard to remember. From the Gingerman E___ and I went back to Dowlings for a while, then I went in to Players to finish off the above sheet-banner. From Players we (a small gang) made our way to the Centra on Westland Row where they used to have an unusually large selection of craft beers. This was around five in the afternoon, still sunny, pleasantly jazzed from a couple of pints, and feeling fly like a high white guy (not high). I picked up a four pack of Blue Moon (?) beers, and one bottle of 10% chocolate porter, which I was excited to give a whirl. From town we made our way out on the bus to S___’s house where she was hosting a big pres for everyone heading to Shuffle (and her birthday?). This was one of those excellent pre-parties where everyone is on top new-summer form, end of exam season highs, wearing their finest casual chic, and generally feeling excited for a big blow out. At S___’s I polished off at least three out of four of my beers and got to work on the black bottle, which I was absolutely amazed by, in that the flavour was deliciously chocolaty, and I shared the stuff with whoever would take a sip. I remember giving a lot of it out, but that was clearly not the case as, from the point of leaving pres, I remember absolutely nothing. We all trouped onto a party bus, as was the custom in the day, €5 each for the forty minute drive, music blasting, people up and dancing, flashing lights, excellent craic, [REDACTED] tracking me down at the back of the bus. I remember getting on the bus. I don’t remember getting off. The next thing that comes to mind is being manhandled home between W___ P____ and A___ O____, and seeing some others maintaining the party in the distance and eagerly attempting to join them, thankfully stopped by W___ and A___ who got me home and into bed, for which I am eternally indebted. The next morning I was woken by the buzzer, and the arrival of the bathroom workers who had arrived at nine on the dot to get back to it on Day 2. I positively crawled around my flat, collecting the sporadically discarded clothes from the night before, and flinging them into my room. Never, in my entire life, before, or since, have I felt as truly awful as I did on that day, (and the next as it happened). I had woken with the innate fear of something lost, and, on the instant of trying to find my glasses, knew they were gone. At the time I wore circular frames, so thin they slotted into the lenses themselves. They were iconic of my last year of school, and my first at university, and I shall always miss them dearly. With my new (Oct 2020) semi-shaved hair they’d probably suit me very well now. I had a 10:00 rehearsal for At Swim, Two Boys at which I was embarrassingly hungover, and the rehearsal was cut after only an hour or so due to most people not feeling 100%. I distinctly remember using a barrel that had been placed for a set marker as physical support, or I probably wouldn’t have been able to stand. From the rehearsal room in 191 I went straight upstairs to the toilet on the second floor, lay down, and, on the cool white lino, with the bright sun not preventing my head from switching off, slept on the toilet floor.

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